Triptyque – The 7 Fingers: Sadler’s Wells, 1 April 2016

Another Tripical night at the Wells

Nothing ropey about these performers. Apart from the ropes. The 7 Fingers in Triptyque. Photo by Marie-France Coallier

Nothing ropey about these performers. Apart from the ropes. The 7 Fingers in Triptyque. Photo by Marie-France Coallier

Take some truly excellent circus performers, get them working with three serious choreographers, add the requisite dance and see what you get. Well, mostly a bit of a muddle actually.

Marie Chouinard’s Anne & Samuel was the most satisfying piece. Exploring the capabilities of restricted movement it opened with a be-crutched Samuel Tétreault rescuing a trussed-up Anne Plamondon from some bamboo bondage. Plamondon’s consequent exploration of what her body was capable of was at times rendered with exquisite tenderness and, although it was often driven by an urgent sexuality, even when she was rubbing her nether regions up against Tétreault’s leg it was more a statement of sensuality than vulgarity.

The two central performances were finely judged and wonderfully nuanced, particularly Plamondon, and if the ending was slightly dry it was an interesting journey getting there.

There were some superb performances too in the hand-balancing extravaganza of Victor Quijada’s Variations 9.81 (the number equates to the metre per second squared acceleration of gravity on earth. Obviously). Marie-Ève Dicaire was outstanding; her long solo towards the end superbly demonstrated her incredible strength, stamina and artistry.

On the whole though, there were far too many (incredible as they were) legs waving repetitively about in the air being linked together by weak and unrelated hip-hop choreography. Also, aside from the beautiful opening sequence where all bodies swung melodiously to some chiming bells, not enough was made of the creative possibilities of five performers being on stage simultaneously.

This was not an accusation you could lay at the feet of Marcos Morau. Nocturnes had a bit of everything thrown at it. Singling out individual performers’ particular skills in the format of a dream meant we saw some terrific action. The aerial rope work was magnificent, Plamondon’s classical dance training was made best advantage of and Nicolas Montes de Oca’s juggling was sublime.

The comedy was fresh and funny, the visuals were terrific (particularly an inexplicably hilarious gang of marching fish) and for the most part there was an endearing energy permeating affairs. It was, however, let down by long tedious voiceovers concerning blood crystallising and the world ending without remembering how it ended. Consequently it seemed to go on forever.

None of which messiness should detract from the fact that Triptyque was a fascinating experiment with some brilliant performances and delightfully unexpected results. There were plenty of memorable moments to take home with you and some sights you thought you’d never see. That can’t be a bad thing, can it?

Triptyque runs at Sadler’s Wells until 2 April 2016. For tickets and more info try the Sadler’s Wells website.

Gerard Davis

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